We woke up yesterday to an unhappy surprise. A puddle—a big puddle—was forming at the foot of our upright freezer in the basement. We had heard a few strange, scattered noises coming from that area the day before but couldn’t tell where they were coming from and didn’t think much of it until we saw the water on the floor and then—uh-oh!
When we bought that freezer almost thirty years ago we were dirt-poor and felt we couldn’t afford the frost-free model so, over the years, I periodically had to defrost it. I admit I had not tackled that job lately and now we had a big mess to show for it. Bless my dear husband’s heart—he loaded up all the food down there in coolers and spent several hours defrosting and cleaning it all up. The bad news at the end was that there would be no fixing the problem. We weren’t about to spend a couple hundred dollars on repairing a thirty year old appliance.
Fortunately we had caught the problem before the frozen foods had begun to thaw. I rearranged things in my freezer upstairs and managed to squeeze a bit more in up there. We pitched a few things that had been stuck in the freezer too long anyway, and my mom was able to fit the rest in her freezer until we could come back for them. Then Bob went shopping for a new freezer.
He called home from the first place he stopped to tell me about what he had found. I was surprised at how much a simple upright freezer cost these days. “You know,” I said as I stood in my kitchen staring at my refrigerator/freezer (that is also thirty years old), “if we have to spend that much on a freezer, I’d rather spend a little more on a new refrigerator, and take this old one downstairs. I’d rather have extra refrigerator space, and a little less freezer space. We don’t want stainless steel and all the bells and whistles, so maybe it wouldn’t cost much more and would be a better way to go.”
He shopped around and found something he liked. Our new refrigerator will be delivered tomorrow. I have mixed feelings. It will be nice to have a new, bigger refrigerator in my kitchen, and more refrigerator space downstairs. My upright freezer was seldom more than half full, so I think I can get by with a little bigger freezer upstairs and a little smaller one downstairs. On the other hand, spending money on a large appliance purchase wasn’t something we wanted to do right now with all the other expenses coming up this year. Not to mention that my washer and dryer are also thirty years old, and we’ve been praying the air conditioning through every summer the last few years, too, so it’s only a matter of time until we’ll have to replace them, as well. Hopefully, maybe they’ll break down one at a time so we’ll only have to replace them one at a time!
But in everything give thanks! I’m thankful that we have refrigeration in this country and at this time. There are millions (billions?) around the world who still live without this modern convenience. Although ice was used from the mid-1700s through the 1800s, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that electric refrigeration was available for home use. And it is with a grateful heart that I thank God for the food filling my refrigerator and freezer—so much, in fact, that I need more space for it. I cannot complain about my appliances growing old and having to replace them. The Lord graciously has given me far more than many in this world.
I had five or six boxes of sugar-free fudgesicles in the freezer downstairs. I recently bought them when they were on sale and I had a really good coupon for them. Fudgesicles are the quintessential girly-girl’s snack, in my humble opinion. Refreshing, low-calorie and, best of all—chocolate! Of all the things in my freezer that I was most concerned about as I saw Bob bringing the coolers of food upstairs, it was my fudgesicles. After all, there is nothing worse than a lukewarm fudgesicle! Mushy, messy, falling off the stick—ick!
Really, lukewarm anything is seldom good. A cold drink of water—aah, refreshing! A nice hot shower to wash away the aches and pains of the day—oh, yeah! But lukewarm water—what good is that? One of my pet peeves is trying to serve the food I have labored to prepare at its correct temperature—either hot or cold–only to have the meal delayed and the food become lukewarm. Ugh! Even Jesus had something to say about the subject. He said to the church at Laodicea, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15, 16)
The Laodiceans had become complacent, apathetic in their faith and comfortable—too comfortable— in their material wealth. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (v. 17) They boasted of their riches, yet Jesus said that they were spiritually poor. Their city was known for its eye salve and fine wool, and yet Jesus called them spiritually blind and naked. The Laodicean church was a real New Testament church of the first century, and yet this message from Revelation is meant for our twenty-first century churches as well—and to those individual Christians who have allowed themselves to become lukewarm in their love for the Lord and indifferent and lazy in the Commission to which He has called us.
Jesus went on to say, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (vs. 18, 19) There are three things, He said, that will remedy lukewarm hearts in our lives and within the church.
First He says, “buy of me gold, tried in the fire.” Gold is refined by fire. The Word of God refines spiritually. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) Sometimes it takes the refining fires of testing to bring us back to the place where our hearts are right with Him once more. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” (Zechariah 13:9)
The remedy, He goes on to say, for our spiritual nakedness is to buy of Him “white raiment.” It was His shed blood that clothed us in righteousness when we accepted His salvation in the first place. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10) He made us a new creation in Him at the time of our salvation. When we have lost that first love, we need to remember that, repent, and renew our commitment to righteous living. “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)
Finally, Jesus says, “anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” We are saved from the darkness of sin, and our blinded eyes are opened to the Gospel and the wonderful things of Christ. When we become lukewarm to Him, however, and slip back into the world, we are blinded once more. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust… But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” (II Peter 1:3, 4, 9) We have the true Light of the World if we only open our eyes to Him and let Him reveal to us our sin and turn back to Him. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6)
The water supply in Laodiciea had to travel traveled several miles to the city through an underground aqueduct. By the time it arrived to the people it was dirty, foul and tepid. When Jesus likened the people of the church in Laodicea to lukewarm, nauseating water that he wanted to spew—not just spit, but actually vomit—out of His mouth, they got the message.
The Greek word for “hot” used in this context is “zestos”, meaning “boiling hot.” It is also used in Romans 12:11 and refers to spiritual zeal or fervor, a zealousness for the things of the Lord. Hot water, too, has a healing, soothing effect on the body. We can see why Jesus said He would rather that we be hot than lukewarm. It may seem strange, then, that He said He’d even prefer that we be cold to lukewarm, but cold water is refreshing and invigorating. The Laodiceans were neither hot nor cold—they were nauseating and useless.
I don’t want to be nauseating and useless to my Lord!! Do you? Let us be refined by His Word. Let us return to righteous living, forsaking the temptations of the world. Let us open our eyes to our backslidden ways and repent. Jesus went on to say in Revelation 3:19, 20, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” And I am sure when Jesus comes in to dine with us, the meal will not be lukewarm! It will be just right!